Core Curriculum

English/Language Arts

Philosophy

The English/language arts classroom is a place where students begin to connect their own lives to the lives of others through great literature. A balanced language arts program gives students opportunities to read and respond critically to both literary and information texts; to write creatively, expressively and analytically; to develop effective oral language skills; to investigate and present topics of interest using research methods; and to use media and technology to communicate for a variety of purposes.

Goals

Through our English/language arts program, the learner will

  • enjoy, appreciate, and evaluate language in all its forms.
  • listen, read, view, and think critically.
  • write and speak effectively in a wide variety of formal and informal styles.
  • prewrite, draft, revise, edit, publish, and reflect as a means to more effective writing.
  • choose and apply appropriate reading strategies in order to analyze and evaluate written texts.

Sixth Grade English/Language Arts

The curriculum is comprised of the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) and focuses on the integration of vocabulary, literature, reading strategies, composition, oral language skills, research and grammar. Reading instruction teaches students to use cognitive strategies before, during and after reading to help them monitor their understanding and evaluate the author’s presentation of ideas. A thematic approach allows students and teachers to work collaboratively to explore fiction and nonfiction literature, composition and research. Global concepts such as self-discovery, justice for all and moments of truth covered in sixth grade themes have universal appeal.

Students participate in the writing process, incorporating grammar study as a part of the revision of their compositions. Oral language and technology instruction is also part of the instruction that helps students become effective communicators. Sixth graders learn to view and question the media and technology, forces that exert a strong influence on teenagers today. Finally, students will learn to conduct research and present their findings through a variety of oral, written, visual and technological media.

Seventh Grade English/Language Arts

Seventh grade English/language arts continues with mastery of the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) and emphasizes the integration of vocabulary, literature, reading strategies, composition, oral language skills, research and grammar. Literature, media and technology experiences become increasingly analytical as students study the elements of the short story, novel, drama, poetry, essay, autobiography, and other fiction and nonfiction genres. The emphasis on becoming strategic readers, critical viewers and effective communicators continues. Students learn to evaluate their own learning.

The thematic approach invites students to discover the triumph and tragedy of human experience. Themes include universal concepts such as loyalty and camaraderie.

Eighth Grade English/Language Arts

Eighth grade English/language arts focuses on the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE). While refining writing process skills and grammar knowledge, students produce various kinds of papers and multimedia presentations. Literature study includes novels, plays, short stories, poetry and a variety of nonfiction. The emphasis on strategic processing, critical thinking and analytical reasoning continues and prepares students for rigorous tests such as the PSAT.

Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Grade Reading

Students who are not taking world language during seventh and eighth grade are scheduled for a reading course. These courses focus on developing an effective reading process by:

  • Using reading skills with varied content (fiction and nonfiction);
  • Applying reading strategies consistently before, during and after reading for active comprehension and
  • Selecting the most appropriate reading strategy to use while reading difficult or confusing text.

Students read a variety of texts including fiction (novels, short stories and drama), nonfiction literature (book reviews, autobiography and biography), content-area texts (social studies, science and mathematics) and real-life texts (newspaper articles, speeches, how-to pieces and persuasive essays). Students write to entertain, inform and persuade. Research instruction enables students to access information, evaluate the information for relevancy and accuracy, and then present the information for real-world purposes.

Students advancing through grades 6-8 are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards, to retain or further develop skills and understandings mastered in previous grades, and to work steadily toward meeting the more general expectations described by the Standards. Although the Standards are divided into Foundational Skills, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language strands for conceptual clarity, the processes of communication are closely connected.


Social Studies

Philosophy

The purpose of the Fulton County School System’s social studies curriculum is to prepare students to become citizens who participate in a democratic society in an increasingly interdependent world. Through social studies education students should acquire a continuing interest in their society; develop a respect for the dignity and worth of all persons; and achieve the depth of understanding, the loyalty to democratic ideas, and the skills necessary to accept responsibilities and rights of citizenship.

As a part of the social studies program, students are provided with learning opportunities that enable them to grow in their ability to think clearly and to integrate significant facts, concepts and generalizations from history and the social sciences into their own experiences. Students develop useful skills for obtaining knowledge, devising questions and engaging in problem-solving techniques through active involvement in the curriculum. Equally important, they should learn how to analyze issues from multiple perspectives and to test the validity of ideas apart from the sources of those ideas. Students are also encouraged to develop connections among ideas and events, both past and present that will promote cooperative and constructive solutions of problems and issues.

Goals

The social studies curriculum is designed to:

  • Increase students’ knowledge of the world and promote greater awareness of its diverse ethnic and cultural elements
  • Reinforces the understanding of how a highly differentiated U.S. society maintains cohesion through adherence to the principles found in the Constitution and Bill of Rights
  • Address concerns related to their social origins
  • Acquire the skills, knowledge and perspectives necessary to achieve success in this global age

Program Descriptions

The curriculum is comprised of the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) social studies standards and the Georgia Standards of Excellence Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies.

Grade 6

Physical and Cultural Geography of the Modern World

The emphasis in sixth grade is on the study of history, geography and culture of selected regions: Europe, Latin America, Canada, Australia and Oceania. Each unit focuses on a geographic overview, historic development, people and culture, political systems and economic systems.

Grade 7

World Geography and History

The emphasis in seventh grade is on the study of history, geography and culture of selected regions: Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Each unit focuses on a geographic overview, historic development, people and culture, political systems and economic systems.

Grade 8

Georgia Studies

Students trace the history of Georgia in the context of the development of the United States. A chronological focus includes a geographic overview and early inhabitants, the foundation of Georgia in the 18th century through the state’s development in the 20th century. Students also examine the characteristics of state government, public issues, citizen rights and responsibilities, and contemporary and historical comparisons of state and national political institutions.


World Languages

Philosophy

Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. Early exposure to language instruction offers students the opportunity to attain high levels of proficiency.

Goals

The goal of Fulton County Schools World Languages instruction is to guide students in their mastery of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) national performance standards.

For Modern Languages, these standards consist of “The 5 Cs”:

  1. Communication – students will engage in conversations, understand and interpret spoken and written language, and present information on a variety of topics.
  2. Culture – Students will learn about target culture products, practices and perspectives.
  3. Connections – Students will connect aspects of their target language learning with information acquired in other subject areas such as math, science, social studies, English and the arts.
  4. Comparisons – Students will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language and culture, making comparisons between those of the target language and their own.
  5. Communities – Students will find and engage in the target language outside of the school environment and show evidence of building a life-long skill for their own personal enjoyment and enrichment.

The Georgia Performance Standards for elementary school modern languages may be found at www.georgiastandards.org.


Science

Philosophy

The purpose of K-12 science education is to produce a scientifically literate society. Scientific literacy is important because:

  • An understanding of science offers personal fulfillment and excitement — benefits that should be shared by everyone.
  • Americans are increasingly confronted with questions in their lives that require scientific information and scientific ways of thinking for informed decision-making. The collective judgment of our people will determine how we manage shared resources — such as air, water, national forests, and energy.
  • Science understanding and ability enhances the capability of all students to hold meaningful and productive jobs in the future.
  • The business community needs employees with the ability to learn, reason, think creatively, make decisions and solve problems.
  • Concerns regarding global economic competitiveness stress the central importance of science and mathematics education that will allow us to keep pace with our global competitors.

Goals

The goals of the Fulton County K-12 science program define a scientifically literate society and are for students to:

  • Experience the richness and excitement of knowing about and understanding the natural world;
  • Use appropriate scientific processes and principles in making personal decisions;
  • Engage intelligently in public discourse and debate about matters of scientific and technological concern, and
  • Increase economic productivity through the use of scientific knowledge, understanding, and skills in their careers.

Grade 6 Earth Science

Students explore earth science by participating in a variety of activities that require them to explore and utilize the habits of mind and the nature of science. The units of study include: the characteristics of science, earth’s materials, earth’s structures and formation, our solar system, evolution of the universe, hydrology, oceanography, meteorology, energy utilization, and conservation.

Grade 7 Life Science

Students explore life science by participating in a variety of learning activities that require them to explore and utilize the habits of mind and the nature of science. The units of study include: the characteristics of science; diversity of living organisms; structure and function of cells; tissues, organs, and organ systems; biological traits; interdependence of organisms and their environments; inherited traits and evolutionary survival of organisms.

Grade 8 Physical Science

Students explore earth science by participating in a variety of learning activities that require them to explore and utilize the habits of mind and the nature of science. The topics of study include: the characteristics of science; nature of matter; forms and transformations of energy; force, mass, and motion of objects; sound and light; electromagnetic radiation; gravity, electricity, and magnetism as forces.


Mathematics

Philosophy

Mathematics permeates all sectors of life and occupies a well-established position in curriculum and instruction. Schools must assume responsibility for empowering students with the mathematical skills necessary for functioning in and contributing to today’s complex society. Instruction should emphasize the application of mathematics to real world problems; allow the use of calculators and computers as tools in problem-solving, and allow students to develop their own mathematical understanding through the use of concrete materials.

The middle school mathematics program is developmentally appropriate and designed to meet students’ intellectual, social and emotional needs. The curriculum and assessment components of the program are conceptually oriented and contain a broad range of content. Curriculum and assessment activities allow students to experience success and help students build positive attitudes toward mathematics and toward themselves as mathematical problem-solvers. Development of students’ abilities to think, to reason, to solve problems and to communicate their understanding of mathematical concepts is a major focus of the program.

Goals
The goals of the 6-8 mathematics program are to:

  • Meet the needs of individual students;
  • Build students’ appreciation of mathematics and its relationship to other disciplines;
  • Promote students’ confidence in their own mathematical abilities;
  • Assist students in becoming mathematical problem-solvers;
  • Provide opportunities for students to communicate their ideas about mathematics;
  • Develop students’ mathematical reasoning skills;
  • Enable students to utilize calculators and computers as problem-solving tools;
  • Encourage participation in learning with others;
  • Develop concepts and skills measured on standardized tests, and enable parents to understand and support the program.

Curriculum Content for Middle School Mathematics

Fulton County Schools implements the Georgia Standards of Excellence for mathematics. The Fulton County Schools Mathematics curriculum stresses rigorous concept development, presents realistic and relevant applications, and keeps a strong emphasis on computational skills. Teachers utilize a standards based direct instruction delivery model. A direct instruction approach provides students with specific skills-based instruction from their teachers at the beginning of new lessons followed by both guided and independent practice. It includes continuous modeling by the teacher, followed by more limited teacher instruction and then fading teacher instruction as students begin to master the material. Engaging students in problem solving and real-world applications are important aspects of mathematics instruction. The use of technology and manipulatives support the conceptual development of mathematical concepts and skills.

The Georgia Standards for Excellence for mathematics are organized into content standards and standards for mathematical practice. The content standards are organized into domains: counting and cardinality, operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations, measurement and data, and geometry. The standards for mathematical practice are an essential part of learning for all students. Students will use these standards as a way of acquiring and using content knowledge.